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3-year-old shot in back by sibling in St. Louis, grandfather arrested

A source told 5 On Your Side two kids had gotten hold of their grandfather's firearm and were playing with it when one accidentally shot the other.

ST. LOUIS — A 3-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the back by his young brother Tuesday afternoon in north St. Louis.

According to St. Louis police, the shooting happened at about 4:30 p.m. in the 3300 block of Thrush Avenue in the city's Walnut Park East neighborhood. 

Police said the 3-year-old boy's mother took him to the hospital with a gunshot wound to his lower right back. As of Wednesday, he was in critical condition.

A source told 5 On Your Side's Christine Byers the gun belonged to the 48-year-old grandfather of the two boys. The grandfather, Markieth L. Mayo, was distraught when police arrived at the scene and told officers his grandchildren had gotten hold of the firearm and were playing with it when one boy accidentally shot the other.

The grandfather surrendered the gun, a .380 ACP handgun, to police when he was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He told police he regularly kept the firearm in a drawer of the dresser in his bedroom, where the children had access.

St. Louis Ward 27 Alderwoman Pam Boyd said too many children have been shot in St. Louis.

"I want to pray for the family and for the mom as she's going through this. And I pray this baby comes out OK. But I also pray that, as a city, we be more aggressive in addressing these issues and not continuously look at it as a 'Oh well.' This should be a crisis situation in our city," Boyd said.

Boyd said she wants to put a program in place to help people better secure their guns following shots-fired incidents around St. Louis homes.

"We should have some kind of task force that's going into a home to, one, see if there are children in there and two, to start bringing in social services and to educate people on the gun, on the handling of guns and how to put the guns up and use the gun locks," Boyd said.

Child abuse investigators are handling the case.

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